For all the advances in digital communications and social networking, email continues to be the most reliable way for congregations to digitally communicate with members and potential members. Why? In the transition we find ourselves in between print and digital communication, email is the most reliable way of digitally sharing your ministry’s news and information. It’s as close to mailing a letter to everyone’s home as you can get, just without the paper and postage.
Unfortunately, most congregations fail to get the most out of their emails for several reasons:
- Uninteresting design
- Inconsistent scheduling
- Incomplete email lists (who gets it)
- Inability to measure their success (who reads it)
- Too much or too little information
- Lack of focus
However, for some that use email well, a weekly email update is becoming the anchor of their communications strategy, lessening the need for a time and paper intensive production of a monthly newsletter.
Here are some ways and a few examples of how to send great emails that people will read:
Tweet for Your Life!
I've had a disappointing realization about my work in social media. I realized that for all of my thinking and writing about it, and for all of our congregation's efforts in it, what we essentially have, for all our work, is just a really good internal communication system.
Let me explain.
Redeemer and I are active on at least half a dozen forms of social media from Facebook to Foursquare to Wordpress.· We share a lot of content - but we are pretty much only sharing it with each other.· I would guess that current church members comprise 95% of our audience.· People from beyond the congregation probably only make up 5% - and many of those are relatives, friends, and former members of the congregation that live far way.· Okay, maybe its 90/10.
The question is: how do we connect with more people?· How do we get this good stuff in front of people who may like and act on it?
In August 2010 I attended Follow Me: Sharing the Gospel in a 2.0 World, a conference hosted by the ELCA for synod communicators and campus ministry pastors and students. You can find video, presentation slides, and other resources on the Follow Me webpage.
On Friday afternoon, we heard from Andrew Bleeker and Michael Organ, two experts in social media, who were instrumental in President Obama's groundbreaking social media campaign. They covered many social media basics and best practices. Here's what stood out:
- Best Practice: Make sure your online activity is driven by your offline goals. Don't do social media just for the sake of doing it. Make your activity and choices purposeful, focused, and aligned with your congregational goals.
- Best Practice: Your social media content should have a clear and distinct voice. Don't do it my committee, or, if you do, be sure the tone, language, and perspective is consistent.
- I haven't anything in regards to text messaging, but this is a great way to connect with people quickly and directly. This is also a great way to use Twitter in a way that doesn't require people to have a Twitter account. Here's how: you can get anyone's tweets sent to you as a text message by texting "follow @[their twitter handle] to 40404. For instance, here's how to get my tweets:
Get updates via SMS by texting follow prkanderson to 40404 in the United States.